Google’s self-driving prototype vehicle

Vehicle Prototype Image Banner Cropped 600px

A lot of rumours have been speculated about Google’s intention to develop a self-driving car. But only yesterday, Chris Urmson, Director of the Self-Driving Car Project at Google, announced the testing of the first prototype.

Below, you can watch a video of the car that has no steering wheel, no accelerator pedal, nor a brake pedal. Quite scary, right? All you need to do is press the GO button and  interact with a screen where you can set up the route, before starting. The interior currently provides only 2 seats and a space to put your belongings.

You might wonder what might be the benefits of such a car, that initially raises so many risks. Well, it’s good when you think how many people drive under the influence of alcohol. By eliminating the human factor, you only set the route and the car takes you home. No need to get a taxi. No need for a driver’s licence. Anyone could have a car at their own disposal. No need to search for a parking space for 20 minutes when the town centre is crowded. The car would take you directly to a free parking space.

It is and will be, of course, a lot of controversy around this subject, but it’s a long term project which will require an awful lot of testing before you’ll see mini cars driving themselves around your house. For the moment, Google announced they will build 100 prototype vehicles, that will be tested by safety drivers and will have manual controls. In the next couple of years, a small pilot program will start in California, provided that everything goes well by the end of this summer.

Image source: Just press go: designing a self-driving vehicle